Mawson was born at Bradford, Yorkshire, his family immigrated to Rooty Hill, N.S.W., Australia in 1884 where he was brought up. He was educated at Fort Street High School and the University of Sydney, where he gained degrees in mining engineering and science. After working as a junior demonstrator in chemistry, he was appointed geologist to an expedition to the New Hebrides (now Vanuatu) in 1903. In 1907, Mawson joined the British Antarctic Expedition led by Ernest Shackleton as an expedition geologist. With his mentor and fellow geologist, Edgeworth David, he was on the first ascent of Mount Erebus. Later, he was a member of the first team to reach the South Magnetic Pole, assuming the leadership of the party from David on their perilous return. Mawson turned down an invitation to join Robert Falcon Scott's Terra Nova Expedition in 1910; Australian geologist Griffith Taylor went instead. Mawson chose to lead his own expedition, the Australasian Antarctic Expedition, to King George V Land and Adelie Land, the sector of the Antarctic continent immediately south of Australia, which at the time was almost entirely unexplored. The objectives were to carry out geographical exploration and scientific studies, including visiting the South Magnetic Pole. On his return, he married Paquita Delprat and was knighted. Upon his retirement from teaching in 1952 he was made Emeritus Professor. He died on 14 October 1958 at the age of 76.
The home of the blizzard, 2000 t.p. (Douglas Mawson) t.p. verso (Sir Douglas Mawson) foreword (1882-1958)